Rare First Edition Books

Written by Kathleen Gagne
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Of all rare books in the world, rare first edition books are the most prized of all. A first edition is just that, the very first time a particular book was printed. For many books, the first edition is printed in a limited number. If the books sells well, later printings might be larger. Later editions may also contain corrections of errors discovered in the first edition, or they may contain comments or introductions that were added.

You can tell a first edition because the inside front page will either state it or there will be no references to any other printings or dates. There will be only one reference to a date. If you browse through online rare book dealers' websites, you will usually find a significant difference between the prices of first and second editions or later editions. The older and rarer the book, the greater this difference may be.

Rare First Edition Books Online

As noted above, a first edition is the first printing of any copies of a book, and first printings are the closest to what the author originally wrote. Because true first editions come from what is usually the smallest printing, existing first printing copies of a rare book will likely have more value than copies printed in larger batches later. Book collectors generally want first editions because of their value and their lack of corrections or changes.

You can purchase rare first edition books online from rare book dealers who will often conduct a search for you for a service fee. If you're searching for yourself, note that a number line has a key element that will tell you what printing a book is from. The very lowest number in the line tells you the edition. If there is a number one anywhere in the line, it is a first edition book. Likewise, if the lowest number is three, then your book comes from the third printing.


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